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Tim Smith

Does Creativity Wane With Age?

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Once you get older and forget everything you once knew about how to play an instrument and music theory, then things get super creative! 😁

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There is also some confusion added to the discussion by the "albums-in-the-hope-chest" phenomenon.

Typically a young artist will come to be recognized after he has been working for a decade or more without public success. Then he hits the audience with the best stuff he has created over that long time period, and everyone thinks he is brand new at this, and marvels at his creative productivity. A second or third album comes out with some of his lesser but still impressive songs, that have been sitting on ice for years sometimes, and the image of a huge amount of creative energy personified in an up and coming talent is solidified. As often as not though after he has used up his best stuff from storage, his creativity seems to lag, because he is not putting out such great work every six months. Once he starts to go a couple of years between releases, he is already judged to be a has-been who can no longer create new stuff, and that is just if he has not succumbed to drug abuse or the loss of motivation and deflections from his meteoric rise that comes with new distractions that often accompanies "success."

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I don't think it's connected to biological age. Some people stay 'young' throughout their life.  I love loosing myself in the piano for hours, it's like a spiritual shower. 

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2 minutes ago, iRelevant said:

I don't think it's connected to biological age. Some people stay 'young' throughout their life.  I love loosing myself in the piano for hours, it's like a spiritual shower. 

I don't play like I use to but have to agree I get lost in playing and mainly it is just for me now and I'm totally fine with that.

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I say no. Even though I rarely sit at the DAW and create, I have music in my head all the time. Other people's songs sometimes, but mostly just thinking melodies and rhythms. What I lack is the energy to sit down at the DAW for hours and do something with them.
Inertia is a dangerous thing.

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and then one day you will die

it could be slow

or in the blink of an eye

but I would say you asked the wrong question

and should rather wonder

does age wane without creativity?

 

 

 

now I have a headache

and I think I will go play in the middle of the thoroughfare

 

Edited by Jesse Screed
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6 hours ago, Jesse Screed said:

and then one day you will die

it could be slow

or in the blink of an eye

I've had several doctors tell me if I lost weight I'd live to be well over 100. Apparently I have excellent genes and all my labs come back textbook perfect.

So like a damn fool I went and lost weight.

 

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Posted (edited)

I can think of two author's, Ray Bradbury and Kurt Vonnegut who wrote pretty good stuff when they were younger.

But their later work was total crap (IMHO).

I suppose you could classify their later stuff as 'creative' but really, it was just crap.

 

Edited by RobertWS

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2 minutes ago, RobertWS said:

I can think of two author's, Ray Bradbury and Kurt Vonnegut why wrote pretty good stuff when they were younger.

But their later work was total crap (IMHO).

I suppose you could classify their later stuff as 'creative' but it really, it was just crap.

 

 Hehe...  I'm having enjoyable flashbacks from that Back to School scene with Rodney Dangerfield! 😁 

(Sorry Snowflakes, there's a couple of f-bombs in this, so whatever you do, don't watch it!😜)

 

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On 9/30/2021 at 10:58 AM, SteveStrummerUK said:

As I get older, I seem to lack the motiva

I kno

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Who's Wane and what does he have to do with my creativity as I age?

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On 9/30/2021 at 6:03 PM, Tim Smith said:

The other option would be to make music to sell to libraries or similar as at least one other person mentioned so far.

With Library music generally you don't "sell" it to them ( unless you're Hans Zimmer or someone ), you usually write an album's worth of themed material ( i..e Sports Hip Hop Vol III ) and offer it to them gratis and IF it's of sufficient quality and something they they think their clients could use they will sign it to their catalog.

Obviously there are thousands of musicians trying to get in as well so it's quite competitive. Should your music get used by their Clients I.e. in a TV show, with most deals you get half and they get half of the royalties share. There are many variations but that's the most common scenario in a nutshell.  

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19 hours ago, Bapu said:

Who's Wane and what does he have to do with my creativity as I age?

It's Wane's world, we just live in it.

I'd say that it depends on the individual, their genre, their temperament, ability to change gears, etc. For some people, their drive and hunger and ability to create comes at an early age and they have a hard time maintaining that same drive. For others, it just comes when it comes, and they develop the skills necessary to execute the ideas that come to them. I'm in the latter group.

When the time comes that I run out of things to express musically that I can't express in other ways, then it'll be over, but I don't see that happening. As long as there are feelings that words alone can't communicate, music will have to be there.

I turned 60 this year. After having exercised my post punk and indie rock muscles off and on for 35 years, I'm returning to an interest I developed 20 years ago, and another I developed 35 years ago. This would be downtempo electronica and experimental noise, respectively.

Different people have different goals. For a very creative (IMO) friend of mine who dropped by my house and in about 5 minutes cooked up a perfect New Order-alike bass line/lead, he's not much interested in playing unless it's in a band context. This frustrates me, because he has so much talent. I helped him set up a new computer and update an older one and couldn't resist putting CbB on them.

For me, I get a buzz from coming up with something I like, that tickles my ears. I've always set small incremental goals for myself musically. This time around, I want to get one of my songs in regular rotation on an ambient chill station. After that, who knows, maybe there will be other goals. If nothing else, I know of the phenomenon where someone recorded a bunch of great stuff back in the '70's or whenever, never got a record deal, or got one with a company that didn't promote them, and then 45 years later, some tastemaker discovers them and they wind up playing festivals to adoring fans. A favorite band of mine, The Free Design, had this story. They even put out a new record after reuniting 30 years later.

A thing for me is keeping a sense of play about it. About half of my current output is in project folders with names like "Ambient Patch Testing," or "Breaktweaker Test," because I start out slapping down a couple of cool-sounding chords that I can stand to listen to while I browse patches. Then, inevitably, one or more of the patches inspires me, and I'm off and running.

This is part of why I'm such a plug-in 'ho. A good one can provide the spark that creates a song.

Another big factor is that I put in the effort to seek out new (to me, sometimes it's a decade or more old) and inspiring music. This is something that I harp on to grumpies who go on about how music was so much better when we were younger, bla bla bla. All right, Mr. Nostalgia, how much effort did you put into finding music you liked when you were 25 vs. now that you're in your 60's? My guess is that 35 years ago they were getting turned on to new stuff by friends, listening to alternative or metal stations every day, really putting in the work.

And they're comparing this stuff, which required digging, to some pop twerps on award shows. News flash: there is so much great new music out there for the finding, in any genre you want. Like classic hard rock? Check out The Darkness. Shoegaze? It's been in a state of revival for longer than it was around the first time, and artists in other genres (like Ulrich Schnauss) even incorporated it into electronica at some point. But you have to seek it out, look on Bandcamp or streaming Internet stations and it's there. Once you find your source, it's like trying to drink from a firehose.

We're fortunate that audiences now are much more tolerant of artists being of more advanced age. Kids these days (who I love) just don't care as much because they've grown up with hip parents and love artists who are now past middle age. And if you care about that and you're doing EDM, do like Daft Punk and Deadmau5 and wear a helmet so that nobody can see the wrinkles and grey hair.

Another factor is generational: Boomers tended to be more hung up on the image of the rocker as a youngster, while Gen Jones (1956-1966, give or take) and Gen X (1967-77) tend to take longer to hit our stride. See Karl and Rick of Underworld, who were once Freur (hit with "Doot Doot") but didn't find themselves as Underworld until they were in their 30's. I recently ran into a guy in his late teens wearing an MDC t-shirt and told him about how my band opened for them at Gilman in '90. He was knocked out. I got a whiff of "rock star" 30 years after the fact. 😂

My relationship with music is like other romantic relationships: it takes work to maintain it, but it's so worth it. And hey, if it stops working, I've had "breakups" where I put myself into other interests, but then I seem to always come back to music. She's my first love. My life has been saved by rock 'n' roll over and over again.

P.S. Props to all of the artists listed so far. To them, I'll add Gen Jones band Massive Attack, who dropped the masterful Heligoland when Daddy G was 50 and Robert was 43. And one of my favorites, John Prine, who dropped The Missing Years at age 45. Check out the combination of trip hop with ferocious hard rock in this one from the Heligoland tour:

And the amazing lyrics in this track from The Missing Years (if I ever come up with something as good as "Sally used to play with her hula hoops, now she tells her problems to therapy groups," or "As if by magic or remote control, he finds a piece of a puzzle that he missed in his soul," I will have grabbed the brass ring as a lyricist):

 

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I've been rethinking my response.
If all I'm doing is thinking about music, is that actually creating music? Or must you have something tangible to hold or feel or hear in order to have a 'creation'?
Existentialism on a Sunday morning.
I suppose the fact that I could create something from my thoughts makes it a creation-in-waiting. But uncreated.
My head hurts now.

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38 minutes ago, 57Gregy said:

I've been rethinking my response.
If all I'm doing is thinking about music, is that actually creating music? Or must you have something tangible to hold or feel or hear in order to have a 'creation'?
Existentialism on a Sunday morning.
I suppose the fact that I could create something from my thoughts makes it a creation-in-waiting. But uncreated.
My head hurts now.

i'm gonna say yes, as a creation is a thing not just a thought... i'm the same

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On 10/1/2021 at 9:51 PM, Bapu said:

Who's Wane and what does he have to do with my creativity as I age?

I hear that he's a guy with 2 alembics. This affects your creativity as obviously you can't be as creative with only one and your age means that you are running out of time to be as creative as he is.

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